Step 1: Research Who's Already Selling What You Sell as a Gift
The first step to selling any kind of product, service, or experience as a gift is to find out who else is already selling what you sell as a gift. For example, if you're in the business of selling paid walking tours of your city, spend some time researching who else is selling walking tours in your city and study whether and how they are presenting their services as a gift giving opportunity.
If there's no-one selling exactly what you sell as a gift in your local market, research how other businesses are selling similar products, services, or experiences as gifts in your market or elsewhere.
As part of this research, write down what you like & don't like about how your competitors and other businesses have optimized their online stores for gift sales. You may also want to make an actual gift-based purchase as part of this research to fully understand how other businesses have built out a full gift sales process.
Step 2: Create a Profile of Your Target Gift Recipient
If you have already invested in customer research and profiling, this next step is going to be easy. Create a profile of your target gift recipient. In all likelihood, your target gift recipient will share the same characteristics and profile as your target customer. That said, there could be some variation between the two. For instance, your target gift recipient might be someone who isn't quite at the stage in their life when they would be able to purchase your product, service, or experience on their own.
An adequately detailed target gift recipient profile consists of the following characteristics:
- Demographic information (age, marital status, education, income, location)
- Psychographic information (beliefs, concerns, preferences, fears, aspirations)
- Behavioural (how do they spend their time, who do they receive gifts from, etc.)
Step 3: Create Profiles for One or More Target Gift Givers
Your Target Gift Giver profiles describe demographic, psychographic, and behavioural information about the person or people who give gifts to your target gift recipient. We recommend that you create 3 to 5 profiles of the people who give gifts to your target gift recipient (i.e. close friend, adult child, colleague). By recognizing that your target gift recipient receives gifts from multiple close connections, you are more likely to create content that reaches the appropriate gift givers.
Step 4: Ensure Your Online Store is Optimized for Gift Sales
While this step is captured here as a single step on the journey to selling any kind of product, service, or experience as a gift, the truth is that optimizing your online store for gift sales is a multistep process. We encourage you to refer to our Original Gift Sales Checklist to assess your desktop and mobile experiences for gift sales. For those of you with brick & mortar stores, you can apply the same checklist to your in-store experience, ignoring those checklist items that only apply to online stores.
Step 5: Develop Content that Targets Your Custom Gift Recipient & Gift Giver
The next step launches you into actually marketing your products, services, and experiences as gifts. We recommend that your first foray into gift sales marketing is tied to an upcoming holiday or gift giving occasion. For example, you can target graduation season, a secular holiday like Mother's Day or Father's Day, or focus on birthdays.
The greatest challenge in gift sales marketing content is remembering that your content must address the target gift giver and not just the gift recipient. For example, if you're selling pottery classes as a gift, you need to reach those who have friends, family members, or colleagues that may enjoy a pottery class and not the class attendee.
If you find you are simply unable to reach your target gift giver, you can address the target gift recipient and instruct them to ask for your product, service, or experience as a gift. Your target gift recipients will then do the hard work of directing gift givers to your gift sales optimized website to complete the gift-based purchase.
Step 6: Share Stories of Those Who Have Given Your Product, Services, or Experience as a Gift
Once the gift-based purchases start to roll in, you can ask both the gift givers and gift recipients for feedback on their experience giving and receiving your product, service, or experience as a gift. There is information in what they will have to share that can enhance your gift sales process.
With their permission, you can also start to feature stories of those gift giving occasions in which your product, service, or experience was given as a gift. This makes for great content and will likely inspire others to give your products, services, or experiences as a gift.